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Childhood and the geology of media

Gallagher, Michael (2019) Childhood and the geology of media. Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education. ISSN 0159-6306

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Abstract

This paper concerns children’s relations with the geological aspects of digital media technologies. Using ideas from media theory, I develop a conceptual framework for childhood studies research on digital media that goes beyond the dominant focus on children’s use of technology. I argue that studies of use would benefit from being linked up with analyses of the technicality and physicality of technology. As an example of the analytical potential of this approach, I discuss the issue of child labour in cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The planetary nature of digital media require analyses that, in line with wider arguments in childhood studies, follow hidden relations across different scales, and address the politics of harmful materialities.

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